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Windows 7: Sysprep images for private distribution - best method


10 Aug 2012   #1

Windows 7 64bit Proffesional
 
 
Sysprep images for private distribution - best method

I'm finding that I've been installing/reinstalling windows a couple of times a month recently. Either I'm giving a "fresh start" to on of my household's computers or building a new computer for a friend or family member.

This not only takes a lot of time but also a lot of bandwidth. Updating windows over and over again is a pain and games are commonly 10-20GB a piece nowadays.

Here's my plan, can someone tell me if it makes sense or offer better methods?

Using VMware, create 3 images.
-One image with only windows updates and essential programs (AV, VLC, browsers, etc).
-A copy image of that one with all non-game programs commonly used (office, gimp, wtvr).
-And a third copy with everything including games.
Make copies and sysprep the copies.
Install them to the physical machines as needed.


I have several questions:
-How does licensing (other than windows 7's) work with sysprep? Are office licenses erased? What about non-MS programs like adobe photoshop? Should I just not be activating anything until the physical install?
-Are there any alternative 3rd party options to sysprep? Some sort of sysprep that allows you to choose what programs are installed during setup would be cool.
-I have a bit of experience with vmware, so I prefer using it but if there is something that fits my needs better let me know.

Anyway, I'm sure my methods can be improved upon a lot, so I'm open to any suggestions.

thanks


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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10 Aug 2012   #2

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
 
 

I hesitate to even respond since I wonder if you're using valid licenses for the software you're passing from computer to computer, but here goes anyway;
I support a "herd of boxen", all of which are one vendor with over a half dozen models and two OSes, XP and Windows 7.
I regularly keep images, captured using imagex, of all the different models on my server where I have ample space for dozens of images.
When I apply an image, Windows plus a couple of vendor supplied applications, I update it first, then re-capture it if there are a significant number of updates since the last capture. I then install applications specific to the user or group of users.
Then I sysprep each system to standardize the profile and make sure it's consistent across the board.
The only time I capture an image that has more than Windows and the Vendor applications is when I'm rolling out several computers to a group that requires the same software for each user.

ALL the applications that I install are either free or properly licensed. Sysprepping has not lost any license numbers, BUT all my licenses are volume licenses with multiple seats. I have had to reactivate an app or two, but that has been the exception, not the rule.

Assuming your are using Volume licensing with enough seats to cover the distribution, I don't see a problem.

If not, and you're pirating anything, I hope my advice blows up in your face.

Just saying.

Best of luck if you're legit and please overlook my cautious approach.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Aug 2012   #3

Windows 7 64bit Proffesional
 
 

Nope, not pirating anything. For my own home use, I get all MS products (except office) free through my college legally. Same with vmware and all the programming tools I use. For friends and family, I buy them an OEM windows 7 key and usually give them the choice of paying for office (and whatever else) or using one of the free ones. I'm not a business and wouldn't really be able to use volume licenses effectively.

And actually I was hoping sysprep would erase all licenses. This way I could install programs with my licenses, update them, sysprep, install on the physical and then insert the new licenses. I guess I just won't activate anything on the virtuals.

Your solution using imagex works but still leaves me with the same problems as vmware.

And the more I think about it, the more I realise how useful a sysprep alternative (or complementing program) would be. If there was a tool that could take a sysprepped image and, during setup, give you a choice as to which programs are kept, that would be awesome.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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10 Aug 2012   #4

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

How many people in your family that you would need such a program to do what you want. Does the college that gives A free program to A student know it being used for the complete family and neighborhood.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Aug 2012   #5

Windows 7 64bit Proffesional
 
 

Maybe I was unclear, the computers in my home use software from the college. Only those computers (all seven of them). People outside of my household pay for their licences. I build computers for my friends who can't do it themselves, I pick parts and software, send them my newegg shopping list for verification and then buy, assemble, install and test the system before charging them what I paid for it.

A program that does what I mentioned above would let me pre-install whatever games or programs people want without any extra effort. I could simply have one image with everything I own installed on it that I keep up to date.

If there isn't such a program, I'll just stick with images, but if you know of one (or a better solution) let me know.

thanks.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Aug 2012   #6

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

I'm trying to learn something. Programs that I own and have a paid for license is for one computer only. If I would want to install the program on 7 computers who ever they belong to I would have to purchase 6 more licenses. A total of 7 license. That is where I get confused. One license for one computer at a time. What I'm missing.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Aug 2012   #7

Windows 7 64bit Proffesional
 
 

....I have six windows 7 licenses from my college, one for each computer (plus a windows server license). There is no "one license only" rule at the college, they simply ask that I don't give them away.
As to the other programs, (Visual Studio, VMware, etc), I have one or two licenses, depending whether I need them on both my laptop and desktop or not.
For MS office, I have one of these which I bought and a 2007 version of the same thing.
For games, most current ones don't need a license to install, but instead require an account with the game license attached, so I can install them on any number of computers.

None of this has anything to do with my question though.

Let me reiterate my question:
Every computer I install windows on has the following:
-VLC
-Chrome and FF
-Adobe reader
-TeamViewer
-7-zip
-notepad++
-CCleaner

They also have one of each of these:
-MS Office or open source alt
-AV, either Nod32 or Avira or another

They may have any number of the following:
-MSI afterburner, CPUz, furmark, prime95
-Programming tools
-Adobe's suite
-Games
-belarc
-vent, xfire, teamspeak
-dameon tools
-a lot more

Manually installing most of these isn't too hard but I find myself doing it more and more often and the time adds up. As a programmer, I automatically try to eliminate useless repetition. Is there a better way to this than with images?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Aug 2012   #8

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

No it really doesn't but I do have a better idea of what you are trying to do and why. Thanks for indulging in my curiosity.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Aug 2012   #9

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
 
 

Well; When I apply and image to one of my vendor computers, I can change the key for Windows as well as the key for Office. There's an option for that.
I can't say what Adobe stuff is like since we only have a couple of machines here that use anything other than the free Reader. Seems I recall you can install some of them without a key, but can't use them without a key. That might give you one shortcut, but how many of your friends can afford Adobe software anyway ?? None of mine can.
Some of the apps you mention I am unfamiliar with, so I can't comment at all as to what options they might offer.

I'm curious where you go to school though. I'd just about kill for 6 clients and server.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Aug 2012   #10

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by slicedtoad View Post
I'm finding that I've been installing/reinstalling windows a couple of times a month recently. Either I'm giving a "fresh start" to on of my household's computers or building a new computer for a friend or family member.

This not only takes a lot of time but also a lot of bandwidth. Updating windows over and over again is a pain and games are commonly 10-20GB a piece nowadays.

Here's my plan, can someone tell me if it makes sense or offer better methods?

Using VMware, create 3 images.
-One image with only windows updates and essential programs (AV, VLC, browsers, etc).
-A copy image of that one with all non-game programs commonly used (office, gimp, wtvr).
-And a third copy with everything including games.
Make copies and sysprep the copies.
Install them to the physical machines as needed.


I have several questions:
-How does licensing (other than windows 7's) work with sysprep? Are office licenses erased? What about non-MS programs like adobe photoshop? Should I just not be activating anything until the physical install?
-Are there any alternative 3rd party options to sysprep? Some sort of sysprep that allows you to choose what programs are installed during setup would be cool.
-I have a bit of experience with vmware, so I prefer using it but if there is something that fits my needs better let me know.

Anyway, I'm sure my methods can be improved upon a lot, so I'm open to any suggestions.

thanks



I you have any illegal software this site will not help you.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Sysprep images for private distribution - best method




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